The housing crisis in the Netherlands has turned into a housing emergency, the head of the Dutch real estate agents’ association said on Thursday.

New figures show that house prices soared a further 8% in the final quarter of 2019, boosting the average price of a home to €326,000, NVM chairman Onno Hoes said.

The lack of supply and continuing demand is leading to continuing pressure in the market nationwide, Hoes said. ‘I keep reading about a housing crisis, but I now dare to talk about a housing emergency.’

Not only is there a shortage of existing buildings – the number offered for sale fell by 4% in the final three months of the year – but few new homes are coming on the market.

Little change is expected in the near future. The national statistics agency CBS said at the end of last year that the number of permits for new homes fell by 25% in 2019, despite government pledges to boost supply.

This ‘vicious circle’ means first-time buyers will find it even more difficult to buy a home in 2020, Hoes said.